Analysing Punjab Kings’ IPL 2021 strategy

Brand Identity is the visual expression of a brand. The logo, colours and imagery form a system that encapsulates a business’ personality and makes it visible and connects it to their audience. It’s a discipline that many brandsand corporates have put to great use, to build their brand and make it successful.A company or a brand are very serious when it comes to rebranding their identity and they are very particular and extra careful about the core messaging that the identity should conveybefore taking a deep dive for rebranding it. The idea behind rebranding is to create a different identity for a brand, from its competitors and also connect with the audience with ease so that it is memorable and remembered easily.

This IPL Punjab Kings (formerly Punjab Kings XI) are very charged this year and have revamped their brand identity which should help them connect with their audiences well and also bring in more fan followers. Punjab Kings co-owner Ness Wadia explained the reasons behind changing the name of the franchise ahead of the Indian Premier League 2021 season. Punjab Kings were earlier known as Kings XI Punjab for the first 13 seasons, but now will be known by their new name Punjab Kings. “We just felt that we wanted to relook at things. We needed to rebrand and reinvent ourselves after so many years. As they say if something doesn’t work, change it and try and get it working,” Wadia said. What’s more interesting is that it for the first time a franchise has gone for a rebranding exercise of their identity in the 13 years of IPL tournament.

According to the company spokesperson, the new identity Punjab Kings communicates the spirit of Punjab. The brand name has been simplified with just two words which makes it far easier for people to remember. The new brand name enhances the connection, that the team has built over the years with its fan base around the world and helps it to stand out amongst competition. The look is more contemporary and evolved and is also trying infuse some vigour and vibrancy by maintaining the long legacy is has through the motif Lion. The coloursrepresent for vibrancy, the roaring lion monogram has been simplified to an iconic rendition which fits into a confined space while giving all the elements a very modern feel.

The franchisee is also very optimistic to perform well and have bought some of best players like the Australia speedster Jhye Richardson for ₹14 crore at the IPL 2021 Auction earlier this week. The franchise also roped in allrounders Riley Meredith and Moises Henriques, England batsman Dawid Malan, Windies pacer Fabian Allen, and domestic talent Shahrukh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Saurabh Kumar, and Utkarsh Singh. Punjab Kings are yet to win an IPL title and have only made it to the final once in 2013, where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.Hope along with the new brand look and the new talented cricketers the franchisee is able to shine and lift the IPL cup.

We at Adgully reached out some Branding and Design experts from the industry to understand the rebranding done by Punjab Kings.

Commenting on the new brand identity for Punjab Kings, Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director, Landor & Fitch, said that brand identities mean the world to fans in the world of sports. Changing them is risky business despite all the benefits that a new brand can bring including updating the image, infusing energy, motivating internal audiences and creating reappraisal with external audiences. This is because of many reasons including that the fans’ sense of identity is closely connected with the franchise, the relationship endures overs decades and emotions are highly charged.

When the Los Angeles Clippers needed a new brand personality, they tried to change their brand but their fans revolted so much that the new identity never saw the light of day. When the rebrand is rooted in logic and is explained clearly to all audiences, the chances of success are much more. Some examples are the Australian Open and Juventus rebrands. 

 The recent rebrand of Kings XI Punjab to Punjab Kings is understandable. Captain KL Rahul wanted a more inclusive name, a nod to the fact that it takes much more than 11 players. The change in the visual identity is evolutionary - they have maintained the colours and the lion but made the shield much more impactful by focusing on a roaring lion while making the mark more contemporary. It’s fresh yet familiar. I haven’t seen the accompanying visual and verbal language on all touch points but if they are utilised consistently and appropriately to reflect the new spirit of the team, this brand transformation (along with all the other changes they will be ushering in) could give the team the much-needed mojo to boost performance and dream of an IPL victory!

Sharing his views and thoughts on the new identity, Vikram Gaikwad, Co-Founder & CCO, Underdog, remarked that time and again, we have witnessed that companies, be it start-ups or mega corporations have emerged stronger than ever thanks to thoughtful rebranding.

In today’s era it’s imperative for every team to re-invent themselves because with a new identity comes a new perception and if I may, a new confidence too. Also, I think it’s a good idea to drop 11 from the brand name which helps the team to be more inclusive by celebrating people besides the playing eleven as a way of showcasing team effort.

Let's hope therefore that this rebranding exercise goes beyond its previous identity and helps them achieve their goals. But that, only time will tell.

Expressing his thoughts, Shashwat Das, Founder Director, Almond Branding, said, “KXIP was one of the 3 teams who haven’t yet won an IPL. But I don’t believe that a change in name alone can change the fortunes of the team. It actually depends on the composition of the squad and how it performs on the field.A change in name as well as logo does infuse some renewed energy into the franchise that can help drive high spirits to outperform others in this 14th edition of IPL.

Das further remarked that I do not believe that Punjab Kings is a more evolved name, especially when you already have a team named Chennai Super Kings which sounds superlatively superior. It definitely brings the focus on the region i.e. Punjab just as the teams of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Pune and Rajasthan. This change can add some positive vibes to the #SaddaPunjab feeling and will be welcomed by the fans. He concluded by saying that that the new logo is now similar to the logo of Stellenbosch kings, a T20 Global League team also owned by Preity Zinta.

Giving his opinion on the new identity, Mayur Varma, ECD and Creative Head, Mumbai and Kolkata, 82.5 Communications, said, “Since Kings XI Punjab has failed to win the IPL even once, a rebranding exercise is a good idea to get everyone to look at the franchise with a new lens. #SaddaPunjab seems to be a decent unifier. Even though the new logo is a lot cleaner than before, I wish it was a bit original - it’s too close to CSK’s. Also, it could have reflected a new philosophy more distinctly.”


News in the domain of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Business of Entertainment

More in Media